one more quick post highlighting great links before i get back to reviews. one essential link that i’ve had on the blog’s sidebar since pretty much day 1 but haven’t actually mentioned directly in a post is ye olde gonintendo.com, the comprehensive nintendo news aggregate that in and of itself would be vital, but in addition has enough original features and personality to make it truly invaluable. one of the most essential sites for a nintendo fan, bar none.
i’ve already mentioned hardcore gaming 101 and racketboy.com, and in a similar vein there are a handful of other grab bag sites i like that don’t focus solely on one thing but offer up a lot of worthwhile ruminations on great video games (just like this blog! haha). here’s a quick run-down:
- yet another game review site: i like this blog because it seems to have a similar motivation as mine, which is to play through games more or less to the end before writing comments on them. it has a nice variety of platforms and popular vs obscure games, a variety i should strive harder to achieve but am just too much of a nintendo fanboy to ever really reach. 😉
- 101 video games that made my life slightly better: i like this blog’s duo’s POV and their range. they’re reaching the finish line, but i’m guessing that they’ll find some way to continue once they actually reach #101.
- videogamecritic.net: impressive archive of short ‘n sweet reviews for a huge variety of platforms
- gamespite.net: james parish’s (of 1up.com) side project that has, as i try to do, more reflective takes on games than just straight reviews. has a lot of good concepts, but the site’s not a great favorite of mine since the articles tend to be fairly shallow and vague, but it does have a strong focus on retro content which is nice.
still in the middle of a couple of games, so here’s another quickie. it’s interesting to me to see what posts on this blog get the most hits, and the main influencing factor is surely the hits from search engines, whose reasonings are as you’d expect completely shrouded in mystery. the statistics provided by wordpress are hardly conclusive, though, as many search engines link to a page of the blog (which isn’t tracked) as opposed to the individual post’s page, but it’s still interesting to see what has risen to the top of the list.
1. way at the top is “super mario shampoo??” which is just a funny scan of an ad from a comic from the 90’s. for a month or so this was oddly enough one of the top hits for “funny mario pic” or something like that, which helps explain why it’s the top hit by far.
2. “the sounds of metroid” is pretty high among the rest of the posts. in that post i reviewed the soundtrack of metroid prime and compared it to the darker tone of other entries in the series, although i’m sure the majority of the hits were just due to people looking for mp3s of the soundtrack.
3. “fixing your wiireless” is also high up there. this was just a tip on how to get your wii connected to a comcast router (well, technically a gateway which is a combined modem and router). again this was just due to a stretch of time when people were looking for help on fixing their wireless router in general and somehow my pun-including title ended up high on search engines’ results until their algorithms figured out that it wasn’t helpful to the average person. funny.
4 through 7. the remaining four posts at the top of the list were normal posts that are hopefully actually providing the info that people are searching for. these included reviews and comments on super smash bros. (N64), castlevania 64 (also for N64), E.V.O. search for eden (SNES), and super mario bros.: the lost levels. my guess here is that just not that many people have blogged about those games. the hits for E.V.O. are somewhat surprising since it’s so little known, especially compared to equivalently obscure games that i’ve posted about that have gotten only a handful of hits, such as poor old galactic pinball for virtual boy, but i guess E.V.O.‘s enix pedigree does ensure more attention than the average obscure game.
so that’s a snapshot of the site after 100,000 hits; we’ll have to see what rises to the top after 200,000. 😉
i knew i was coming up to 100,000 hits, but i missed the actual date which occurred near the end of august. thanks again to everyone who’s taken the time to check out this little island in the sea of cyberspace!
i’m in the middle of several games, so i put together this quiz i’ve been meaning to post for ages on video game punctuation. the screenshot below of the first question will give you an idea of what to expect; just click through to start the quiz. have fun! 😉
i’m a bit behind on posts so i thought i’d throw a shout out to hardcore gaming 101. i’ve mentioned the site several times in passing already when reviewing games (in fact, including my last post, which was on altered beast), but i thought i’d spotlight it because even better than their interesting overviews of individual games they have great surveys of a fair number of series. i’m really not quite sure what qualifies as “hardcore” gaming, but their articles on series make for particularly great time wastage because they’re extensive with a great level of detail: comparisons of the various versions of the same game accompanied by screenshots, chronological descriptions of all of the games in the series so you can see how the series has evolved (including obscure japanese-only releases), and a look at spinoff games and media, including anime. their focus is on retro, lesser-known titles with an emphasis on action-oriented games, and even the articles on really obscure games make for great reading. any of their articles is well-worth reading, but this one on the fire emblem series and this one on the puyo puyo series will get ya started. yeah! hardcore!
although i’m cetainly a video game buff, i’m not a “collector” for the sake of collecting; i’m a collector only in terms of wanting to play original games in their original configuration (i.e. with the original hardware and peripherals, although sadly with arcade games i have to make do with the nearest console version). this has led me to some relatively expensive purchases, but nothing too extreme. given the mountain of great games i haven’t played, there isn’t too much need to really dive too deep into the realm of obscure but worthwhile but also pricey games.
nevertheless, i find video game collecting for the sake of collecting to be interesting. racketboy has a feature on “the holy grails of console gaming” that’s an interesting read. but the reason i’m mentioning all this now is that the guy who runs the essential videogamepricecharts.com (how did we ever live without it?), posted this week about his epic saga on acquiring the holy grail of console gaming, the nintendo world championships gold cartridge. it’s a great read (you’ll laugh! you’ll cry!), and here’s a hearty congratulations to the guy at VGPC for accomplishing what many people can only dream of.
i have such a fetish for lists that it’s kind of ridiculous. i won’t go into a full confession here, but let it suffice to say that at the very least i maintain my personal list of games i’ve played and own with an almost religious fervour, not to mention the list of games i’m planning on getting.
so as you can imagine, for me the “wii software stats” feature on the wii section of MTV’s gaming blog has been like crack to a junkie. it first began as a one-off article for another site at the end of june, but has been a monthly feature since september (the links to the entries are here). the culprit behind all of it (i.e. my unknowing dealer) is stephen totilo, and he does a great job of not only compiling the numbers but also discussing the overall trends. it’s fascinating to me (and prob. to a lot of other video game geeks out there) to see how a game like brawl is still played months after its release, whereas single-player games like metroid prime get played, beaten, and then put aside. lately i’ve actually seen some of this in action, as i finally have a buddy to play brawl with and find myself not only putting in time replaying adventure mode and brawling one-on-one, but also getting back into it on my own and playing with characters i’d completely neglected (poor wario was sitting at the bottom of my # of brawls list, so i gave him some attention today haha. his final smash still sucks though).
there’s so much other fascinating stuff as well, like seeing the average amount of time people play a game, and comparing it to the average time it should take to finish the game (i.e. most people don’t finish games. no big surprise there, though). i’m really looking forward to seeing how the numbers for the VC and wiiware games shape up, and also games like wii fit and wii music. it’ll also be interesting to see how the holidays changes the numbers, as you have more people getting together to play games (myself included) and all the people getting new games.
… yes, i know i’m a geek. but i’m still jonesin’ for my next hit!
another year draws to a close, and the internet has been abuzz with retrospectives and previews. in the former category IGN has pretty nice 6-page year in review features for all the various video gaming platforms, including the wii and DS. the features include a look back at the year’s news, game highlights, and a look ahead. it’s almost impossible to believe that the wii, in its third holiday season, is still selling out, but the big N continues to dominate, even with its DS in its fifth holiday season.
there’s no question that they’re making big bucks, but nintendo’s fanbase has been increasingly disappointed ever since this past year’s E3. (i hesitate to say their “core” fanbase b/c the true core fanbase are an almost painfully loyal group and don’t get disappointed easily.) wii music and the new animal crossing failed to satisfy any of the “hardcore” gamers, and nintendo’s press release of what we have to look forward to in Q1 of next year (which somehow omitted capcom’s offerings) has left a lot of them despairing (like most online groups they’re a rather melodramatic lot). for nintendo’s first party offerings it does seem they could have paced their releases better, but the backlog of great games on the virtual console and wiiware doesn’t make me personally feel like i’m twiddling my thumbs with nothing to play (not to mention the literally hundreds of retro games i have lying around waiting to be touched). in terms of third party games it seems we’re still in the midst of the gap left from the releases put out by early developers (the gamblers who banked on the wii’s success and were proven right) and those that are still being developed by the ones who were waiting to see how the wii would fare before they committed to developing for it. but once we bridge that gap hopefully we’ll see a steadier supply from both nintendo and third parties. or am i just being optimistic?
anyway, as for me, i’m just psyched we have a US release date for fire emblem DS (feb. 16!!!). the other game on nintendo’s list that i have my eye on is retro game challenge (apparently actually not due out until feb. 10), featuring versions of classic arcade games with xbox-like achievements as their main focus. in terms of the rest of 2009 i’m keeping my eye out on rhythm heaven, an apparently warioware-like rhythm game, punch-out!! wii, and wii sports 2. and of course looking forward to getting our hands on the DSi and the accompanying DSiware. (can virtual console game boy and game boy advance games be far behind? fingers crossed.) in any case i trust that the head honchos at nintendo know what they’re doing and that they have more than a few surprises up their sleeves. it’s a couple of weeks early, but what the heck: here’s to a great 2009!
still catching up on things, but hopefully this will be the last random post before a proper review post. i was out of town for work this past week, and pretty much the only good thing about it is that i came across these awesome nintendo t-shirts at a random mall in a store called hot topic. apparently these officially-licensed shirts have been out for a while and are sold at a lot of other places (at least online), but i must have been completely out of the loop b/c if i’d known i’d def. have bought some before now. i don’t recall seeing anything like the number of designs at the the nintendo world store in NY so maybe they haven’t been out for too long (the girl in the store said they’d been out for at least a couple of years), or maybe it’s just been longer than i thought since i was last there.
anyway, after i snapped up a couple of shirts at that store, i immediately checked their online store for sizes of shirts i’d kind of liked but they hadn’t had. but then i found some other places that also sell nintendo shirts online, namely this store on ebay called zanybunny and a site called myteespot.com. the three places carry slightly different stuff and i spent way too much time looking through them all, but i ended up going with myteespot b/c they had the most designs (including patches, hoodies, buttons, caps, keychains, wristbands, and more) and free shipping for orders over $50. as a nintendo fanboy i’m totally psyched to have the shirts, but as a somewhat socialized human being i haven’t quite decided how willing i am to expose my geekiness in public. in the right situation a nintendo shirt could make a great conversation starter … but you might want to think twice about wearing them to certain places. somehow i think they’d be less appreciated at, oh, your workplace, your 10-year high school reunion, the gym, and pretty much anywhere you’re trying to attract a mate. 😉 otherwise, it’s mario wearin’ the freakin’ tanooki suit FTW!!!1!
behind on my game playing, mostly b/c of work. here’s another worthwhile link for ya, though. in my last post i mentioned that the same games tend to show up on “top games of all time” lists over and over again. this seems to be especially true of the IGN readers’ poll; at least, that was my first impression when i read through this year’s list. i’m a sucker for a good list, and after the first devouring of this one i’ve taken a closer look and realized it has a bit more variation than i’d originally thought, although still not as much as when compared to the editors’ poll. but i did notice the same thing that i had noticed in the previous readers’ polls: namely, that the readers’ choice list tends to favor recent releases, but as time passes the truly great remain on the list (i.e. the classically great, instead of the faddy favorites). the lists also seem to favor certain genres and pretty much completely ignore classic games (e.g. anything NES era and before), which of course leaves a huge gap.
nevertheless, some interesting things about this year’s list are that all three of the metroid prime games made the list (along with the three most recent 2D games). all four of the console metal gear solid games are also included. but the zelda series easily beats out any other franchise for the most appearances on the list with a whopping 8 by my reckoning, and (surprise, surprise) claims the number one spot for the second time in a row with ocarina of time.
geek that i am, i’ve been keeping a copy of IGN’s top 100 readers’ and editors’ lists ever since they began, way back in 2003. they have a great system in which they alternate the readers’ lists with the editors’ lists each year so that each occurs only once every other year, allowing for more variation. and geek that i am i like to compare the lists to each other, comparing the readers’ choices to the editors’, and the progression from year to year. you can join in on the fun by checking out this compilation i made of the IGN’s editors’ and readers’ top 100 games of all time lists. yeah! useless lists! times 6!
i just realized that my post from two weeks ago was my 100th post for this blog. w00t. thanks to everyone who has ever stumbled across this blog in the two years and four months it’s been up. by far the most popular post has long been the one with the scan of a super mario shampoo magazine ad which apparently seems to show up on a lot of general image searches for “super mario”. who can even begin to guess the cosmic powers at work here (or rather, at google)?
once again i’m in the middle of a few games, so no review this week. i don’t mind too much, though. although this blog’s central focus will always be my long-winded thoughts on games, i do keep up on what’s going on in the gaming news and in the online world, and there are loads of links that i’ve accumulated on the offhand chance that i’ll have an occasion to pull them out. one particularly noteworthy one is www.racketboy.com which has loads of great info on retro consoles and games. the site is divided into five main sections:
- Retro Gaming 101: Learn essential information about vintage consoles.
- Defining Games: Discover the games that gave each machine its personality.
- Hidden Gems: Explore the best games that usually go unnoticed.
- Cheapest Games: Collect the best games without spending much money.
- Holy Grails: Discover the rarest and more valuable games of all time.
i’m still working my way through the video game canon, but the lists on racketboy have proven to be well worth perusing. i prob. spend more of my time reading the “hidden gems” sections since most of the games in other sites’ top 10 or top 100 lists are so well known and don’t vary much from site to site.
the site also has some other great features. one is together retro, a sort of video game “book” club. basically racketboy chooses a retro game for everyone in the group to play for a week or more, depending on the game, allowing participants to compare scores, share tips, debate, and discuss. my list of games to play is already so long that i haven’t really had any chance to participate in the club, but i keep my eye on the selections and it’s great to read through the accompanying posts in the together retro section of the site’s forum. another feature i enjoy is the “The Most Stunning Artwork” series in which racketboy highlights great fan art from various series.
so what’re ya waitin’ for? check it out!